CARY, N.C. (Sept. 19, 2020) - Orlando Pride (0-0-1, 1 point) made its 2020 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) debut on Saturday afternoon, battling to a 0-0 draw against the host North Carolina Courage. The Pride, who played their first game of the year after missing out on the NWSL Challenge Cup, held the back-to-back league champions scoreless over the 90 minute while also providing debut opportunities for five players.
Saturday’s game saw defenders Carrie Lawrence and Courtney Petersen, and midfielders Jordyn Listro, Deneisha Blackwood and Chelsee Washington all earn their first NWSL minutes, while forward Kate Howarth made her first league appearance since 2013. Petersen and Washington are full contract members of the Pride, while the other four signed short-term contracts ahead of the Fall Series.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris finished the night with four saves, including a point blank stop on North Carolina’s Debinha, while Lawrence was active on both ends of the field, with a chance that went off the crossbar and a goal line clearance shortly after.
Head Coach Marc Skinner:
“I can’t be prouder of the team’s effort, I’d class that as an epic mental performance. North Carolina are of course a changed team, I take nothing away from that, but the ability to take your physicality, apply it on the pitch and then make sure that you control the spaces that [the Courage] are so dangerous in...I thought we did a wonderful job today. I couldn’t be prouder of all of the players for their effort. I think, to every individual today, they were exceptional and it really was an epic, mental performance from the team.”
- The Pride played their first match in nearly a year on Saturday afternoon, last playing a competitive match on Oct. 12, 2019 - 343 days ago.
- The Pride rolled out a starting XI that featured eight returning players, while the remaining three earned their first NWSL minutes
- Five players made their NWSL debut on Saturday, in defenders Carrie Lawrence and Courtney Petersen, and midfielders Jordyn Listro, Deneisha Blackwood and Chelsee Washington. Lawrence, Petersen and Listro all started while Blackwood and Washington subbed in during the second half.
- Sydney Leroux made her first professional start in over two years with the match, last starting a game on Sept. 8, 2018. Leroux would later miss the majority of the 2019 season while pregnant with her second child, Roux.
- Kate Howarth made her first NWSL appearance since 2013 when she was a member of the now defunct Boston Breakers.
- Ali Krieger wore the captain’s armband for the Pride on Saturday, her 15th time serving as captain since 2017.
Next Match: The Pride will play their final road match of the Fall Series, traveling to face the NWSL Challenge Cup Champion Houston Dash on Saturday, Sept. 26 at BBVA Stadium. That match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be aired worldwide on Twitch.